McDonough School of Business
Five members of the Cajun Navy
News Story

Beyond Business: Storm Chaser

Allen Lenard (MA-IBP’23) never steers away from a challenge—no matter how big or small.

When his home state was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Lenard felt compelled to help. He joined efforts with the Cajun Navy, a volunteer-based organization that provides assistance to those who have been impacted by a natural disaster through search and rescue efforts, disaster response, and debris clean-up.

“Just about every interaction I have had with anyone in any sort of precarious condition after a hurricane, tornado, or flood—at the end of that, I was like, I got more out of that than they did,” Lenard recalled.

Year after year, his passion for the organization’s work continues to grow as he’s seen the immense impact that it’s had on marginalized populations nationwide.

“Those with means are usually able to ‘get to higher ground’ in the form of an evacuation, or they might be connected with resources outside of the affected area. The ones who do not have the same opportunities at their disposal are forced to stay and bear the brunt of not only the initial event but the weeks after when services are unavailable,” Lenard explained. “This is where the Cajun Navy is unique. We assemble ahead of the storm, usually in the direct path, in order to reach people immediately after they have been impacted.”

After bearing witness to the fragility of life through his volunteer work over the past few decades, Lenard shared that it’s never too late to invest in one’s passions.

As the founder and president of Lendoza Group, a Louisiana-based telecommunications company, and Relief Resources International, a nonprofit focused on international relief aid, Lenard came to Georgetown in pursuit of an education that would help him provide an even stronger business model for his clients and make him a more well-rounded business professional.

“For somebody like me to come to Georgetown, I am placing myself in a unique position. There are few opportunities in life where you can solely dedicate time to educational, professional, and personal growth. In a sense, it puts you in a vulnerable position.”

Lenard believes integrating vulnerability into the framework of life is critical to personal growth. He’s ready to take on the final chapter of his Georgetown education and continuing to embrace the value of working towards the benefit of others—whether it’s preparing to respond to an incoming natural disaster or assessing the latest business challenge.

“There are things that you get involved in, and then there are things that you are called to do. I also believe that there are things in life that your inner spirit just draws you into.”

This story was originally featured in the Georgetown Business Fall 2023 Magazine.

Georgetown Business Magazine